Tonight is the night that Sony will make some sort of announcement about the future of the PlayStation brand. Some speculate that it will be more details on their next system, commonly referred to as the "PS4." Hopefully there will be some other surprises like game announcements, new features for the technology they already have on the market now and - with any luck - a price cut to the North American and European versions of the PS Vita hand-held - which currently cost as much as a brand new PS3.
Last week we detailed a new hack for the PlayStation 3 that has some in the PlayStation Network concerned that they could face another major security breach like what happened back in 2011 when millions of users' information was compromised by hackers. But security firm GFI Software says that PSN users shouldn't be all that concerned about it.
Sony's PlayStation 3 is facing a new security threat - one it hasn't seen since the system was cracked via the PSJailbreak in 2011. According to a report on Eurogamer, a new PlayStation Network-enabled custom firmware was recently released along with the publication of the console's LV0 decryption keys.
Kevin Butler may once have been the face of Sony's PlayStation 3, PlayStation Network and the PSP platform as the fictitious Vice President of various made-up departments within the company division. But apparently Sony has decided to sue the man (actor Jerry Lamber) that plays Kevin Butler and his company - advertising firm Wildcat Creek - over the Kevin Butler IP. Sony claims that Wildcat used the character in an advertising campaign for Bridgestone Tires, with a "Butler-type character" wearing a lab coat testing out Mario Kart Wii.
South Korea's new "Shutdown Law" was supposed to keep teens from gaming during a six hour block every night to focus on "more important things" like studying, but two groups have already filed lawsuits that question the legality of the new nanny state law concocted by lawmakers in the country. A group of game makers doing business in the region including NCsoft, Neowiz, and Nexon, have filed a lawsuit claiming that the Shutdown Law is unjust and unfair to them.
The PlayStation Store for South Korea will be shut down temporarily, according to a report on Kotaku. The digital marketplace for the PSP, PS3, and PS Vita will be shut down due to a new "Shutdown Law" in the country that is meant to keep gamers in the region age 16 or younger from playing games during a six hour block of time every night. The law was already imposed on the PlayStation Network.
According to the official PlayStation Blog, the PlayStation Network and related services will be down for maintenance for around 13 hours. How will we survive, I wonder? Beginning at approximately 2pm GMT / 6am PDT / 9am EDT various PSN services will go offline as Sony tinkers, tweaks, and upgrades them. The maintenance will last until approximately 3am GMT / 7pm PDT / 10pm EDT.
Sony has released an interesting list of the PlayStation 3 games that players have managed to get an elusive Platinum trophy in the most. At the top of this heap is... Assassin's Creed 2. It was followed by Modern Warfare 2, Uncharted 2, God of War 3 and Resident Evil 5. Sony social media manager Jeff Rubenstein, who revealed the top ten list on the PlayStation Blog said that all the games listed below were commercial successes.
Earlier in the week Sony announced that it would be doing 14 hours' worth of "routine Maintenance" on PlayStation Network and related services. According to a new post on the official PlayStation Blog, that maintenance will not happen today as planned.
"UPDATE: This maintenance period has been postponed. We will re-post when the date is rescheduled. PSN’s online gaming and services on Thursday, March 1, will be normal."
A message on the Official PlayStation Blog warns PlayStation Network users that the service will shut down for 14 hours for some routine maintenance. You will not be able to sign in to PlayStation Network during that time, and any websites related to it will also go off the grid until the service returns on Friday. Sony did not disclose what it would be changing or if a new update would be applied during this service outage. From the blog:
A studio formed by five ex-Sony developers last year explained why they ditched the PS3 and the PlayStation Network to develop games for Apple's iOS platform. When asked what drove them into the arms of Sony's competitors, the answer was simple enough:
In September Sony updated the PlayStation Network's terms of service to include a new clause removing the ability for customers (who were more than likely upset over the major security breach that happened earlier in the year) to file future class action lawsuits. Users who accepted the new TOS had to agree to individual arbitration instead of a lawsuit if they had a grievance against Sony. Since users had to agree to the new TOS in order to sign in to PSN, many simply agreed and moved on.
Sony's Andrew House has told Reuters that the company aims to sell 15 million PlayStation 3's in the fiscal year ending March 2012, despite a turbulent year for the company. The head of Sony Computer Entertainment revealed that sales on the console were ahead of target.
We have often wondered why the popular and free video service Crackle has not been made available on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Perhaps because it is free... Anyway that has changed this morning, as Sony has added the service in PlayStation Home - it's virtual rest stop on the PS3. Sony has partnered up the service to bring free full-length movies - including the wonderful Final Fantasy: Advent Children - to PlayStation Home. Crackle is a free movie and TV show streaming service available via web browsers or a number of other devices - most notably Roku's various boxes.
Last night Sony's new SVP & Chief Information Security Officer, Philip Reitinger wrote a lengthy post on the official PlayStation Blog, detailing some questionable mass logins. While some of those attempts to login to accounts by unknown persons were successful, Reitinger assures the public that those accounts have been identified by the company and temporarily locked down.
Ford's Warrior's in Pink initiative finds friends in PlayStation Home. An event is planned inside Sony's virtual PS3 destination to help raise awareness about breast cancer later this month. Ford is strong supporter for breast cancer research and Warriors in Pink is just one of the ways it has taken the fight to the disease; the car manufacturer is a 17-year National Sponsorship of the Komen Race for the Cure. The company says that, to date it has dedicated more than $110 million to the cause.
Sony did not break Australia’s Privacy Act during the PlayStation Network cyber attack, ruled Australia's Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim. Pilgrim’s report, released today, said that the Commission found "no evidence that Sony intentionally disclosed any personal information to a third party." Pilgrim said that he was satisfied that Sony Australia took reasonable steps to protect its customers’ personal information, including encrypting credit card information and ensuring appropriate security measures were in place.
You may think the unprecedented and massive security breach that took down multiple Sony services including Sony Online entertainment and PlayStation Network is what pushed Sony to make the changes it did recently to the PSN Terms of Service, but a CNN report points to another reason: The Supreme Court. Last week Sony changed the document for PlayStation Network asking customers to give up their rights to file class-action lawsuits against the company and its partners.
A GiantBomb report claims that, even though you may have agreed to the new PlayStation Network Terms of Service recently, there may still be an option to allow an opt-out. In a nutshell, the new ToS asks users to agree to not sue the company as part of a class action, and requires that you agree to it to gain entry to the network. The paragraph in question from section #15 of the ToS:
A little public service announcement for all PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable users that play games over the PlayStation Network in Europe: on Sunday, between the hours of 5am and 12pm British Standard time select PS3/PSP titles will go offline for maintenance.
Sony also noted that users may experience "some additional downtime after the maintenance for testing purposes."
During that time the following games (and associated websites) will not be playable over PlayStation Network:
If you are a member of Sony's PlayStation Network, chances are you were greeted with an email from the company this morning telling you that that the terms of service for the network are about to change. The big change, in case you haven't received that email yet, relates to your ability to sue them. From section 15 comes this wonderful new clause:
Sony says this week that, following one of the worst security breaches in recent memory for any company, that sales via its online gaming service are exceeding numbers from before the attack occurred.
As part of a Sony conference at the IFA electronics show, Sony CEO Howard Stringer said that the PlayStation Network has recovered and is now doing better than ever, with 3 million new customers since coming back online earlier this year.
According to new data released by ABI Research, the most popular method of streaming Netflix content continues to be through a video game console. The new data also shows that console owners spend a substantial amount of time --seven to eight hours a week-- watching online video through their console devices.
Sony Computer Entertainment announced that it will cut the price of its PlayStation 3 console by $50. The company, who made the announcement at Gamescom in cologne, Germany, said that the 160 GB model will now sell for $249, while the 320 GB model would sell for $299. The price cut is global and takes effect immediately.
At the annual Black Hat hacker convention that happened in Las Vegas this week Sony earned a dubious distinction of the security breach that took several of its services down for nearly two months. The awards are called "Pwnies" and - unless you are a hacker - you don’t want to be "honored" with on. Sony earned the "Most Epic Fail" award for the massive security breach that brought down the PlayStation Network and related services for nearly two months earlier this year.
It may have taken longer than expected but Sony's various services related to the PlayStation 3 are back online all over the world. As part of an apology by the company, it offered a number of free games to PSN members such as Infamous, LittleBigPlanet, Dead Nation and WipEout through a "Welcome Back" program. Sony will be delighted to hear that the program has been called a resounding success by research firm EEDAR.
EEDAR, referencing IGN GamerMetrics data, said that all four Welcome Back titles were in the top 25 of consumer reported title acquisitions in June 2011. Additionally 17 percent of IGN users indicated that they acquired a PSN digital title in June 2011, up from 13 percent in March 2011 before Sony had to take down PSN.
But the most interesting data point in the report indicates that the Welcome Back program may have boosted PS3 game sales as well. From the report:
Sony announced that it will have "full PlayStation Network services" in Japan sometime this week. This will bring all of its services online in the region nearly two and a half months after being attacked by hackers. Later this week Sony hopes to have its PlayStation Store back online, allowing Japanese PlayStation Network users access to its games marketplace and online music.
The attack on Sony’s data centers in San Diego compromised more than 100 million customer accounts and will cost an estimated 14 billion yen ($173 million) for the company this fiscal year.
Most of the delay in Japan was due to a Japanese government request in May to institute "preventive measures against data breaches," and to ease customer worries over having their information stolen. Apparently Sony has finally satisfied these requests, as well as requests from credit card companies who were seeking details on its new security measures.
Sony CEO Howard Stringer took a 16 percent pay cut last year, the company announced at its shareholder meeting on Tuesday. Sony said that Stringer's salary and bonuses fell to right around 345 million yen, or roughly $4,268,807 (according to currency conversion site XE.com). Earlier in the week shareholders asked Stringer to resign from his post as CEO. Obviously Sony and Stringer are not entertaining that idea at all.
The shareholder anger is directly related to the security breach in April, Sony's handling of the situation, and the inevitable price tag, which the company estimates at $14 billion yen.
Stringer tried to console investors by saying that since the PlayStation Network came back online, around 90 percent of its subscribers have returned and he apologized for how the company dealt with the security breach.
Sony of Japan has issued a small statement on the continued downtime of the PlayStation Network and its Qriocity services in Japan. The company had said that it would relaunch both at the end of last month, but that never happened. Sony's new statement offers Japanese players apologies for the long wait and that it needs more time "to make adjustments with the various related parties." The company offers no timeline for when these services will return as it attempts to appease customers, the Japanese government and credit card companies.
The hold-up relates mostly to Sony meeting the strict demands of the government and credit card companies. So far it has not managed to convince either that everything is safe and secure. Further, the government wants Sony to explain how it will give customers confidence again that its services are safe.